“Magic” Coating Reduces Heating/Cooling Requirements

Right after pollution reduction, doing things electrically rather than by burning fuels is how you can reduce environmental impact. We all know that if you are going to be walking in the hot sun you want to wear light colors but if you will be out in the sun on a cold day wearing dark colors is a better choice. Well, here is a new invention which will automatically make this choice for your house.

We know this is possible. For example, the Namaqua chameleon of southwestern Africa alters its color to regulate its body temperature as conditions change. The critters appear light grey in hot temperatures to reflect sunlight and keep cool, then turn a dark brown once they cool down to absorb heat instead. So, why not do something similar to your roof? Fuqiang Wang and colleagues wanted to create a color-shifting coating that adapts as outside temperatures fluctuate.

To make the coating, researchers mixed thermochromic microcapsules, specialized microparticles and binders to form a suspension, which they sprayed or brushed onto a metal surface. When heated to 68 degrees Fahrenheit, the surface began to change from dark to light grey. Once it reached 86 degrees, the light-colored film reflected up to 93% of solar radiation. Even when heated above 175 degrees for an entire day, the material showed no signs of damage. Next, the team tested it alongside three conventional coatings — regular white paint, a passive radiative cooling paint and blue steel tiles — in outdoor tests on miniature, doghouse-sized buildings throughout all four seasons.

Thanks to the American Chemical Society for this information.

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